If I was ticketed for having an open container while I was on the sidewalk of a private university, can I fight it?

UPDATED: Oct 10, 2011

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If I was ticketed for having an open container while I was on the sidewalk of a private university, can I fight it?

All I want to know is should I just pay the ticket and be done with it or should I attempt to fight it because it was private property? It is only a minor misdemeanor, how does that affect my record?

Asked on October 10, 2011 under Criminal Law, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can be cited for a violation for having an open container of an alcoholic beverage in a public place. "Public places" are those which anyone can enter freely and include sidewalks, streets, tree lawns, some outdoor areas of apartment complexes and inside parked or moving cars.

The fact is that there are no "minor" misdemeanors.  A misdemeanor is a criminal offense. A conviction can result in adverse consequences regarding employment, student loans, professional licensing, just to name a few. You really should speak directly with a criminal law attorney in your area. Also, see if your university offers free/low cost legal assistance.

There is something known as "diversion" which essentially diverts a case out of the criminal justice system. In a diversion, you will go to court and plead guilty to the offense. You are then sentenced to probation. If you successfully complete it, your plea will be withdrawn and your case dismissed. This leaves you with a clean criminal record. Again, consult with a lawyer as to all of this.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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